$600,000 in state matching grants advance 7 innovative small businesses

Seven small businesses in Wisconsin will receive up to $600,000 to commercialize their innovations, thanks to the SBIR Advance program’s latest round of funding.

The state matching grant program provides assistance to companies in the process of completing a project in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This is the 18th round of SBIR Advance funding since this collaboration by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) began in 2014.

Over the past eight years, 128 awards totaling nearly $10.4 million have been awarded. Those business reported obtaining $62.7 million in follow on funding since receiving the SBIR Advance matching grants.

The Phase 1 recipients, each receiving up to $75,000 match, are:

  • Cellular Logistics, Inc. of Madison is commercializing a novel biomaterial that enables cell therapies by increasing cell retention and engraftment and promoting healing in damaged tissues. Their mission is to advance myocardial reparative and regenerative therapies that are poised to treat patients with heart failure;
  • Nano RED, LLC of Madison is developing precision delivery technologies to power the next generation of RNA and immunotherapeutics. Their platform technology offers a new way to treat SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging pandemic viruses, as well as a new tool to deliver the next generation of RNA therapeutics in cancer;
  • ReNeuroGen, LLC of Milwaukee is a virtual pharmaceutical company. They are developing a first in class systems chemico-pharmacology drug candidate that has potential to treat a number of oxidative stress and inflammatory based diseases.
  • Steam Instruments of Madison is an early-stage startup company developing and commercializing technologies to improve the mass range, quantum efficiency, and spatial resolution of mass spectrometry;

The Phase 2 recipients, each receiving up to $100,000 match, are:

  • Stem Pharm of Madison creates synthetic biomaterials to simulate the in vivo extracellular environment while providing distinct advantages over current standard animal-derived materials including better reproducibility, translatability, tunability and efficiency.
  • Voximetry of Middleton is a healthtech software company benefiting cancer patients treated with Radiopharmaceutical Therapy (RPT). TORCH™ Personalized Treatment Planning analyzes Nuclear Medicine scans to measure the unique patient-drug interaction for each patient and then calculates the optimal dose to administer for each patient;
  • XLock BioSciences, LLC. of Milwaukee develops novel engineered chemokine proteins that have therapeutic utility through well-understood biological mechanisms. XL’s lead compound, CCL20 Locked Dimer has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical animal models for multiple inflammatory animal models.

“In this round, we have seven high-tech startups that are working to commercialize products in digital health, scientific instrumentation, biomanufacturing and drug and therapeutic discovery,” said Brian Walsh, Program Manager. “The SBIR Advance grant funds will help them achieve critical milestones like overcoming regulatory barriers, protecting intellectual property, forging partnerships and raising investment capital. We are excited to work with these founding teams in developing strategies and connections to successfully bring their products to market.”

The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $3.7 billion in federal research funding in 2020. Because those funds cannot be used for commercialization activities, the SBIR Advance program fills the gap. Funds can be used to pursue market research, customer validation, intellectual property work or other areas that speed commercialization.

SBIR Advance grant recipients receive CTC staff support available throughout the commercialization process, including Lean Startup training, business plan review and other consulting.

“As we look at all we have learned from the impact of the pandemic on the people and businesses of Wisconsin, one of the consistent bright spots is the potential for innovation to provide a better path forward,” said Aaron Hagar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at WEDC. “The SBIR Advance program captures that spirit and gives some of Wisconsin’s most technically exciting young companies the boost they need to get to the next level. We have seen the results of this important program in bridging the gap from innovation to customers, investors, and success for Wisconsin.”

For more details on the SBIR Advance program, visit or e-mail . The next solicitation is expected to open in late November.

SBIR Advance is part of a Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is pursuing with the help of the UW System and other business leaders throughout the state to remove barriers to high-tech commercialization. Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing financial and operational assistance programs designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges. Another S3 collaborative effort between WEDC and the UW System is the Ideadvance Seed Fund, also managed by UW System’s CTC.

About Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization is part of the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. CTC provides one-on-one expert consulting to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. CTC has collaborated in acquiring more than $100 million in federal and other funding for clients. Learn more at; follow @WisconsinCTC on Twitter.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Learn more at; follow @WEDCNews on Twitter.


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